John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Anyway, As I Was Saying...

Before I got so rudely interrupted by, y'know, a bomb, I was going to post a lot of insignificant stuff about gaming. And by golly, I'm not going to let a little thing like the dread of my own mortality stop me!

So how was my weekend, you ask?

Friday night went over to the Rathbun house, as per usual routine. jamesbarrett was working, and I wanted to finish level_head's commission, so basically I sat at the table and drew, still taking part in the conversation, while Laurie, HantaMouse, and Mutti played Ubi. I can't stand Ubi, but they all like it, so I thought that was a good solution. Really, I've reached the point where I'd rather not play games when we're there half the time anyway. I'm there for the visit, not for the joy of shuffling cards. On the other hand, I do seem to draw better when there's activity around me, which is why I always find myself trying to sketch in between rounds.

Saturday I penciled SJ for Monday and Wednesday in the morning, played Neverwinter Nights all afternoon, and Camstone and I played in Frisk's D&D game until 2:00 a.m. We are currently in a puzzle-heavy dungeon, which is fine, but I'm eager to get back into some action.

Speaking of which, I discarded the NWN game I started with Gazeddor, my often-wished-for-and-never-properly-played fighter/barbarian/rogue. Although he's good at kicking butt and taking names, the game -- like the BG games before it -- doesn't really seem to suit his personality. I have a certain vision of the kinds of adventures Gazeddor should be on, and they are not the sorts of adventures that the computer games are designed to provide. I think I may have to resign Gazeddor to the Vault of Lost Characters and be done with it. As with Theran in Frisk's D&D game, when playing the CRPG's, I need to create a character as a blank slate and accept what comes my way, instead of having a vision and trying to recreate that in the game context.

So, I restarted NWN with an elvish fighter/ranger, Faradawn. (Yes, I love to multiclass. It's a weakness of mine. While it usually gives me lots of neat abilities up front, the way D&D is designed I end up screwed over in the end. Le sigh.) My original idea for Faradawn as a paper-and-pencil game character was that he would be a ranger/wizard and eventually take the Arcane Archer prestige class, which is a class of some major buttwhomp, but since NWN doesn't have prestige classes as far as I can tell, I decided to dump the "arcane" part.

I started him out by cranking up his stealth skills and giving him Weapon Finesse. With a starting STR 14 and DEX 17 (the best I could afford using the 30-point buy system without getting penalties elsewhere), two-handed fighting using a longsword in his primary hand and a shortsword in his secondary gave him fairly decent melee stats (+1 to hit, d8+2 damage from the longsword and +2 to hit, d6+2 damage with the shortsword at 1st level IIRC -- low bonuses, but two attacks per turn), and his fighter feats at 2nd and 3rd level gave him Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, and Cleave. Then at 4th level, his DEX became 18, giving him some very nice to-hit rolls with his longbow and that off-hand shortsword, and he picked up a +1 longsword at the end of the first major quest. So he's pretty well as twinked out as he's going to get for a while.

Being chaotic good, Faradawn is pretty well free to enjoy all the seedier aspects of the game (consorting with rogues, taking shady business propositions from the proprietress of a house of ill-repute), while still having a reason to do all the selfless goody-goody quests he comes upon. His preferred mode of operation is to act as something of a commando ... he goes into any encounter in stealth mode, picks a target, and fires off as many arrows into that target as he can before the rest of his foes realize he's there and close, at which point he opens the twin Blades Cuisinart and goes to town. Several encounters were over before they even began because of his marksmanship.

His next feat, I expect, will be Rapid Shot, so he can get more arrows off before having to pull out the swords.

Anyway, that was NWN. Back in the world of face-to-face gaming, Frisk's game continues to move, albeit a bit slowly. Theran, being a fighter/wizard, has probably got the hardest combination of classes to integrate into a single character, and I was feeling that acutely this time around. He's fifth level; as a fifth level fighter, he would be way tougher in combat, while as a fifth level wizard, he'd have a lot more useful spells. As it is, he's kinda mediocre at both.

We came upon some mephits -- tough little buggers, but nothing that overwhelming. Unfortunately, they are tough enough that they managed to drop Theran two rounds into the combat, largely because he doesn't have the hit points that a 5th level fighter would, but he wades into combat anyway. There's also the problem that mephits have damage resistance, which means you need to attack them with magic weapons if you have them, or spells. While Theran does have a magic weapon, he didn't have any decent combat spells memorized. He was expecting to be in a stealth-and-defensive operation, so he memorized things like sleep -- as opposed to the magic missile that would have been very handy against the mephits.

Thankfully, there was a paladin, a cleric, and a druid around, so Theran was quickly brought back from the brink and able to help finish the fight.

Theran is rapidly gaining on Bryan of Haust as my longest-played character as a player in a game, rather than the DM. Bryan was also in one of Frisk's games, which sadly fell apart when the group dissolved. While I was sad to see that happen, I think it was inevitable. Frisk and I were the only ones actually enjoying the game (and in fact, of the group, the only ones enjoying gaming at all).

Playing Bryan gave me some important lessons that I kept in mind when creating Theran, including, as I alluded to above, I need to make a character that suits the game, instead of trying to find a game that suits the character I want to play. I have yet to, and rather doubt that I ever will, find precisely the sorts of campaigns I want to play in -- which is one reason why I tend to be the DM instead of a player. I know exactly what those campaigns are, and have for years, and haven't found them yet.

  • Sword and Sorcery a la Robert E. Howard - I created Gazeddor after reading all of Howard's original Conan stories in a collected volume. Conan is a vastly misrepresented character in most non-Howard works. This idea of him as "big and dumb" has more to do with our culture's stereotypes than it does with anything Howard wrote. Conan is not educated, to be sure -- but he is far from dumb. As for how Howardian S&S is different from the more standard Tolkienesque fantasy in vogue today, all I can say is, "Read the original. You'll see."

  • Star Wars - I want to play a Jedi knight sometime. Don't think it's going to happen.

  • Wing Commander - The original Wing Commander computer games, I - III, are just about the most awesome "space fighters" games ever created. The reason none of the other games made since have gone very far, is that there's nothing much they could do that WC1-3 didn't do already, and better. I would looooove to play a campaign set on the Tiger's Claw during the Kilrathi war. (Oh, and ignore the movie, it doesn't count.)

  • Swashbucklers! - Phil Brucato ran a "Musketeers" game in the HERO System that was much fun, although IIRC the campaign got shelved before we actually got to the end. He started a privateering game, and I think we played half a session or so before it got shelved, which was a big disappointment. I've always wanted to go back to that. (I would gladly take Furry Pirates if a more standard game wasn't available.)

  • Champions - I love Champions and miss it. I would particularly love to play in a bright four-color game; Phil always wanted to run dark, gritty, seedy Champions, which I was never interested in.

  • Classic Star Trek - One of those "always wanted to do this and never had the right group" things. And I still do. Blue shirt, black pants, tricorder, Constitution-class ship ... what bliss!

Anyway, Sunday was dull; once SJ was inked and posted for Hikaru, the rest of the day consisted of going to the grocery store, and playing more NWN. Unfortunately, I stayed up way too late doing that, and I'm pooped now.

*thunk* ZZZZzzzzzzzzz...

And that's how my weekend was. :)

-The Gneech
Tags: dungeons & dragons, gaming
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